We have a duty to advise and counsel anyone who lives in Walsall who wishes to adopt a child from overseas. There is a fee for the completion of the home assessment report. Applications from people who are applying to adopt a child within the UK will take priority over those applying to adopt a child outside the UK.
1 Decide which Country
If you have not already done so, you will need to decide from which country you wish to adopt a child. It should be a country with which you already have links or can make links. Knowledge of the country’s culture, religion, history and language will be important to a child.
Walsall is part of the Adoption Black Country (ABC) consortium which runs monthly information evenings for people interested in adoption. You may already have been invited to one of these sessions. If not, you can contact the ABC consortium on 0800 073 0597 or www.adoptionblackcountry.co.uk. for information. It would be useful if you inform the ABC that you are interested in inter country adoption as the vast majority of people attending information sessions are seeking to adopt a child from the UK. If the ABC coordinators are aware of your interest in advance, they can ensure that you have the opportunity for a one to one discussion with a social worker who is sufficiently familiar with inter country processes and requirements.
Walsall Adoption Service subscribes to the Inter-country Adoption Centre in Barnet, Hertfordshire. Any resident of Walsall can contact the Inter-country Adoption Centre via their website at www.icacentre.org.uk for advice and information. They have access to up to date information about the processes and charges involved within the child’s country of origin.
Following attendance at one of the Information events the team manager will then allocate a social worker who will make contact with you to arrange an initial visit to your home. If you are a couple, you will both need to be present for the initial visit. Following this visit there is a 2 stage process as follows:
Stage One – Pre-assessment begins when we accept your registration of interest and should normally take no more than two months to complete. Stage One involves the following:
- Drawing up a Stage One plan that sets out the responsibilities and expectations of the applicants and Walsall Council
- Personal and employer references
- Medical – undertaken by your own GP
- Police check on all applicants and any other adult household members
- Information, on-line training and preparation work.
Stage One ends with a decision about whether you might be suitable to adopt.
Stage Two – The assessment begins when we receive notification that you wish to proceed with a full assessment and this should take four months to complete. However, this timescale may not be met due to the agency’s primary role being to find adoptive families for children waiting for an adoptive family in England. Prospective adopters who wish to adopt a child waiting for adoption in England will be prioritised and this may impact on the agency’s capacity to undertake an inter-country adoption assessment within the timescale. Stage Two involves the following:
- Intensive training and assessment
- Agreement of a stage two assessment plan
- A prospective adopters report.
You will need to attend either the preparation groups held by the IAC (Inter Country Adoption Centre) who are based in London or Walsall’s 3 day training programme. The preparation groups provide you with all the information you need to decide whether or not you would like to proceed with the adoption of a child from overseas. There is a charge per person for the course with IAC and this will be deducted from the charge you pay to Walsall for your assessment.
As mentioned there will be a charge for the home study assessment carried out by Walsall and for any required follow up visits to your home after the child is living with you. The charge for the assessment is currently between £8,000 and £10,000 with an additional charge of £35.00 per hour for any follow up visits. Should you require an interpreter there will be an additional charge for this also. This is in line with the charge levied by the IAC (Inter country Adoption Centre) and the other members of the ABC (Adoption in the Black Country) consortium. You will also need to have made your enquiries about the charges and costs within the child’s country of origin.
4 Adoption Panel
The adoption panel consists of a minimum of five members that include;
- An independent chairperson.
- A vice chairperson.
- A social worker with at least three years post-qualifying experience.
- A medical advisor.
- An independent member with either personal or professional experience of adoption.
You will be invited to attend panel where your final report will be presented to the members by your social worker. The role of the panel is to recommend whether or not you are suitable to be approved to adopt. You will be informed verbally of the panel’s recommendation on the same day. This is then subject to approval by the agency decision maker. You will be informed in writing of this decision with 7 working days.
The Department for Education (DFE) will then check your application and send it onto the relevant authority in the state of origin.
5 Post Approval
The state of origin decides whether to accept your application and identifies a child to be matched with you. Details of the child will be sent to DFE who will forward them to your social worker. Your social worker will share the information with you and discuss all the implications. It may be necessary to take other advice, for example medical advice before reaching a decision. If you decide to accept the match, you will travel to meet the child in the state of origin. You will need to adopt your child in the state of origin and this may involve a second visit. You will need to apply for clearance from the nearest British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission to bring your child into the UK.
Many countries require post-placement reports on the progress of the child. This can be discussed and arranged with your social worker. You are entitled to the same state benefits/adoption leave from work as UK adopters and should make enquiries at the Benefits Agency. You are entitled to the same adoption support service from the local authority where you live as UK adopters.
Status of Foreign Adoption Orders
Convention Countries (have fully completed the Hague Convention)
The adoption orders of these countries are recognised by the UK. Children automatically acquire British nationality providing one of the adopters is a UK national. The order can be registered in the UK with the Registrar General and a UK Certificate of Adoption issued.
For more information on Hague Convention Countries Click here
The adoption orders of these countries are fully recognised by the UK. However, children do not automatically acquire British nationality. As above, the order can be registered in the UK with the Registrar General and a UK Certificate of Adoption issued. To acquire British nationality the child has to be registered under the British Nationality Act 1981 with the Home Office. Alternatively, it is possible to adopt the child again in the UK. To apply for an Adoption Order you should either be what is known under law as ‘domiciled’ in the United Kingdom or ‘habitually resident’ for one year prior to applying for the order. This is to do with how long you have lived in this country and which country is considered to be your permanent residence. If you are unsure about this, you may need to seek legal advice.
The adoption orders of these countries are not recognised by the UK. No parent/child relationship is created in British law. If you are adopting a child from a non-designated country, you will need to obtain entry clearance for bringing the child to the UK for the purpose of adoption. This can be obtained from an Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in the state of origin. You will have to notify Walsall Council within 14 days of returning to the UK of your intention to adopt the child. We will then be responsible for monitoring the welfare of the child. As above, to apply for an Adoption Order you will need to be ‘domiciled’ in the United Kingdom or ‘habitually resident’ for one year prior to applying for the order. When you apply for an adoption order we will provide a report on yourselves, the child and circumstances of the adoption to the court.